Haridwar: Sixteen people, including 14 women and two men were killed in a stampede today during a religious ceremony attended by tens of thousands of devotees near the eminent Har Ki Pauri ghat on the banks of the Ganges River.
At least, 32 people were also injured in the stampede that busts out when people tried to enter the ‘yajnashala'(place of sacred fire ceremony) at Chandidweep Ghat for the birth centenary celebrations of Acharya Pandit Shriram Sharma.
The Acharya, a Saint-Scholar-Philosopher was the founder of Shantikunj Ashram and also the Founder Father of ‘Akhil Vishwa Gayatri Pariwar’, which has a massive following.
The devotees were climbing stairs to cross a mini bridge ahead of the venue for the religious ceremony ‘Gayatri Mahayagya’, a male survivor said. The condition soon went out of control, and people ran helter-skelter with some women and children falling on the ground.
SDM Harbir Singh said that 16 people were killed in the stampede, in this admired pilgrim town in the hill state of Uttrakhand.
“It appears that suffocation in the area led to the stampede but an exact cause will only come out after an inquiry,” he said.
BJP President Nitin Gadkari also visited the stampede site and meets some of the injured. Governor Margaret Alva as well expressed grief over the incident.